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Publisher: GameTap    Genre: Miscellaneous
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: Intel    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

June 4, 2008 | Ted Bade

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GameTap is a service that gives members access to a variety of arcade games, in their words, "regardless of platform." Late last year, the service was expanded to included the MacOS X platform. While they do offer a lot of games for the Intel (only) Macintosh user, they are older or even classic arcade games. But, unlike some other classic game applications I have tried, GameTap is very stable, has a sleek interface for choosing a game, and the ability to post your high scores on their site to prove you are the King of Space Invaders.

GameTap is a pay service, although you can create a "free" account to try it out. This limited account provides access to a number of games and is a great way to try out the service before you buy. However, before you start any game with the free account, you will have to sit through a commercial. Not an unfair exchange for using the service for free. My only complaint about the commercials was their variety. One day I tried out several different games and had to sit through the same commercial time after time, ugh. Come on GameTap people, I don’t mind commercials, just don’t bore me to death watching the same one ten times in a row!

The monthly fee is a reasonable $10 USD/month, and they discount a whole year of service for $60. At the time of my review, they were offering a special cost of $1 for the first month of the “Gold” service. Check out their “Go-Gold” page here. This could make a great gift for the MacHead who has everything!

To play a game, launch the GameTap application. A window opens showing their interface, which gives the impression of being inside a dome. On the top you can select a subset of games such as Types (which gives you access to games by type), Game Systems (access by gaming systems), GameTap Picks (the games they are currently promoting), My Playlist (list of the games you have tried already), or Search that helps you find a title. When you select any of these categories, an arc of tabs changes to correspond to the selection. For instance, select Game Systems and you see an arced list of gaming systems that include: Saturn, 32X, Arcade, DOS, Intellivision, and so forth. Select Game Types and you see an arc that includes: Action, Adventure, Sports, Arcade, Family, and so forth.

Below this arc is an arc of specific game titles that fit into the category. You move (spin) the arc by clicking on an item to the right or left, which centers that entry. When you have centered on a particular game you would like to play, click on it to start. An intermediate window opens that provides information about the game, a button to start the download, as well as the all important game controls. If you decide to play it, click on the download button and the code is sent to your Mac. Note that once you download the game, there is also a button to trash the code, if you decide not to store it on your machine.

If you prefer working with a list when searching for a game, you can visit the GameTap web site. There you can search using a variety of strategies to find a game in the category you like. You search by selecting options, such as type of game, year released, game platform and so forth. Clicking on more then one category narrows the search. There is a radio button that says “Playable on a Mac”. Click this button last. I found that if I clicked on it too early or started a new search with it already clicked, it wouldn’t properly list Mac only games. If you would like to take a look at this to search for a few games, click here. If you do note there is a selection box at the bottom which limits games to free, gold or both.

The interface also provides a variety of buttons that ultimately open your browser and bring you to their web site for more information. In addition to providing access to games, the GameTap site also offers information about what games are soon to be released, a forum for people to share information, Game news, Game video previews, and even a store to buy games. (I couldn’t find any stand alone games that worked on MacOS X.)


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